You know, I was organizing an amazing dinner party last night?

Source: BBC Learn English

You know is a discourse marker here, means 'I'm going to tell you some information you already know'. So I don't think it's a lighter version of 'Do you know...?'.

I read about question marks on Pro Writing Aid and Grammarly and I still don't understand why there is a one at the end of this sentence. Why?

  • 1
    Technically, I wouldn't consider this grammatical. However, the lesson is on spoken English, which doesn't always follow official grammar rules, and if you imagine someone speaking it as a sentence it could work and sound natural.
    – Esther
    Aug 31, 2022 at 14:11
  • It's an implied question with the sense "Do you remember that I told you I was organizing a dinner party?" or "You know, don't you, that..." Aug 31, 2022 at 14:23
  • @KateBunting Thank you but depending on the Pro Writing Aid page I referenced there shouldn't be a question mark at the end if it's an indirect question. Aren't implied and indirect questions the same thing? I'd love to know if they're not or the information on ProWritingAid is not correct. And the definition 'I'm going to tell you some information you already know'' is not mine, it's from the BBC page. To be honest at first I thought like you but the sole reason I opened this question here is this definition on the BBC page.
    – user138449
    Aug 31, 2022 at 14:32
  • @Esther I'm not so sure the lesson is on spoken English as the other videos are focused on written English
    – user138449
    Aug 31, 2022 at 14:34
  • No, an implied question is not the same as an indirect question. It's correct that an indirect question doesn't need a question mark. Strictly speaking, as Esther says, the statement "You know that I was planning to give a dinner party" is not a question, but in informal spoken English (which this is - it's a phone conversation, remember?) the speaker gives her words the intonation of a question as though asking her friend to confirm that she does already know. Aug 31, 2022 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


A question mark is used because she is asking a question, even though it isn't syntactically a question, the purpose of this sentence is to check understanding.

In the telephone call, she begins "You know, I was organizing an amazing dinner party last night?". Syntactically this is a statement, but the purpose of this sentence is to check that the other person knows about the dinner party. Although we only hear one side of the conversation, we can imagine that the other person answers this question with "Yes, I knew that".

When a sentence is being used to get information, it can be marked with a question mark, even if it is not syntactically a question.

Since "You know" marks a sentence that gives information that you think the other person already knows, it is often used to check that the person really does share that information. So it is often used in this kind of informal question. In formal English you would ask "Do you know..."

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    The introductory phrase you know is understood by many speakers as conversational deletion from a question Do you know ..? It fits nicely into indirect question strategies. Aug 31, 2022 at 17:14

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